Prague Approves New Social Housing Allocation Rules Amid Controversy

After months of criticism from various quarters, Prague has given the green light to new rules governing the allocation of social housing. The move has sparked both support and opposition, particularly concerning the use of a points system and the inclusion of young families as eligible applicants.

Under the new rules, which were approved by city councilors but not by members of the coalition party Pirates, the points system will continue to be used for homes designated for individuals in social distress. However, the administration of these homes will be transferred from the city to the Prague Social Services Center (CSSP).

The revised municipal rules outline five categories of people eligible to apply for council housing, expanding on the existing criteria for seniors, people with disabilities, those in social distress, and representatives of essential professions. Young families are among the newly added category of eligible applicants.

Alexandra Udženija, deputy mayor for social affairs, highlighted that CSSP had developed a methodology retaining the points system for social housing allocations, emphasizing the center’s expertise and field experience in this area.

Notably, Pirates councilors did not lend their support to the new rules, as they felt the points system should also apply to the recently introduced category of young families. The retention of the points system exclusively for social housing was a point of contention for the party.

Magdalena Valdmanová, chairwoman of the housing committee, acknowledged that the discussion on housing allocation rules was far from over and expressed a commitment to addressing issues that may be challenging to implement in practice.

Udženija expressed willingness to consider future changes to the rules, emphasizing the importance of ensuring they are socially sensitive and inclusive.

Criticism of the new rules has come from various quarters, including the non-profit organization the Platform for Social Housing, which had initially objected to the cancellation of the points system for seniors but saw it retained for social housing. The organization argues that the entry criteria are overly strict and do not adequately target individuals in housing distress.

Prague Sobě, an opposition party, also criticized the new proposal, expressing concerns that the most vulnerable individuals and families would be left without crucial city assistance. Party leader Jan Čižinský described the rules as opaque and claimed that the weakest individuals had been excluded from support.

While the new rules have been approved, they continue to be the subject of debate and scrutiny from multiple stakeholders, and the discussions around social housing allocation in Prague are far from concluded.

Article by Prague Forum

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